City of God
On Saturday, June 8, the mayor of Monterrey – the wealthiest city in Mexico and its third largest metropolitan area – announced at an event called “Monterrey Prays” that she “delivered” the city to Jesus Christ. Two young boys in white vestments accepted the keys to the city on the Lord’s behalf. “So that His Kingdom of peace and blessings may be established, let us open the doors of this city to God as the highest authority,” declared Margarita Alicia Arellanes Cervantes before a crowd shouting “Christ lives!”
Mixing politics with prayer is certainly not unusual, in Mexico or even the United States – though it is hard to imagine the mayors of Chicago or New York City ceremonially entrusting their cities to Jesus. Monterrey may also feel somewhat forsaken by God and fortune in the past three years, when it went from one of the safest cities in Latin America to a frontline in the drug war; some citizens have moved to other parts of Mexico for safety, others remain and are frustrated and alarmed by the murders, kidnappings and extortion. Arellanes is a panista (member of the conservative, Catholic PAN party) and not the only mayor in her party to have put the Lord in charge. Three other cities in Nuevo León are also under His care following a similar ceremony. Mayor Arellanes later stated that her actions were completely “legal” after criticism of her breach of the boundary between church and state.
Monterrey was officially founded in 1596 by Diego de Montemayor after two previous settlement attempts were abandoned. Both Montemayor and his conquistador predecessor, Luis de Carabajal y Cueva, were of Sephardic Jewish descent. The King of Spain, Phillip II, had lifted restrictions on Spanish emigration to the northern part of present-day Mexico, allowing recent converts to Christianity to settle the notoriously dangerous territory and so, the city that in 2013 was placed in the hands of Jesus Christ was first occupied by Jewish conversos. Mind you, most of these conversions weren’t inspired by an epiphany on the road to Damascus, but by being offered a choice between accepting Christ or…cruel and painful death. Carbajal died in prison after being accused of heresy by the Inquisition; most of his extended family died at the stake in Mexico City.
You can see Arellanes’s speech in the video below:
Animal Político, Alcadesa de Monterrey entrega la ciudad a Jesucristo (June 10), Los alcaldes que han entregado sus ciudades a Jesucristo (June 10)